(CNN) – When Russian armed forces launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine Last month, China sided with Moscow, blaming the United States and its NATO allies Provoke conflict By allowing his defenses to expand eastward.
Now, as China faces Western pressure to condemn Russia’s invasion, similar rhetoric about the US footprint in Asia is growing.
In recent days, senior Chinese Foreign Ministry officials and influential Communist Party publications have accused the United States of seeking to create a NATO-like crowd in the Indo-Pacific region, with official warnings of its consequences, “unimaginable if you do.”
At a conference in Beijing on Saturday, Signa’s Deputy Foreign Minister Lu Yucheng said the Ukraine crisis could be used as a “mirror” to see the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Lee did not name the United States, but openly referred to the Indo-Pacific strategy, which was described by the Biden administration last month. Strengthening the role of the United States in the regionFor example, by supporting democracy and strengthening its alliances and alliances, including with Taiwan.
China’s critique of NATO
Creating “small circles or closed and private groups” in the region is “just as dangerous as NATO’s expansion strategy eastward in Europe,” he said at an event at Lu Xinhua University, according to an edition of a text published by China. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“If allowed to continue unchecked, it will have unimaginable consequences and eventually push the Asia-Pacific to the brink,” he said.
China’s criticism of NATO comes after its attempt to present itself as a neutral player in the Ukraine crisis. Refuses to condemn Russia’s attacks on civiliansWhile highlighting Ukraine and its humanitarian assistance Did not consider the possibility of providing military support to Moscow.
However, China’s attempt to parallel US strategy in the Indo – Pacific region with NATO’s “eastward expansion” in Europe echoes Moscow’s arguments, which raise serious questions about Beijing’s alleged neutrality.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly tried to use his concern over NATO to justify his brutal invasion of Ukraine. Now, experts say China’s attempt to use the ongoing crisis in Ukraine not only portrays the United States as provoking a suspected conflict in Europe or Asia, but also to warn of its consequences. Countries in the region are queuing up against China.
China “favors” crisis
Washington’s Importance to the Indo – Pacific China pursues a more radical foreign policy, redoubled its regional claims and takes a tough stance in response to perceived challenges.
In recent years, Chinese The UN overturned the court’s ruling Rejects its extensive regional claims in the South China Sea, while continuing its militarizationThere s positions and harass other claimants. It has also increased its threats against Taiwan’s sovereignty Record fighter airstrikes In the island’s air defense identification zone in recent months.
“It is not surprising that China is taking advantage of the Ukrainian crisis against the Indo-Pacific strategy,” he said. Said Li Mingjiang, an associate professor at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and head of international relations. University of Technology, Singapore.
Li noted China’s “growing concern” Refreshment of the security forum “Quad” India, Japan, Australia and the United States, and the Security Agreement AUKUS The firm commitment between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the United States to maintain its long-term role in the region, was outlined in Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy last month.
“The purpose is clear: China wants to send this message to countries in the United States and the region that the Indo-Pacific strategy and US defense alliances can develop some similar defense dynamics found in Europe.” Of Russia, “Li said.
The message comes ahead of NATO’s extraordinary NATO summit on Thursday, in which US President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with allied leaders in Brussels to discuss the situation in Ukraine. Crisis.
A message from China to the US and NATO
At a news conference in Jakarta on Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Lee’s warnings about US presence in the Indo-Pacific region were echoed by the Chinese ambassador to ASEAN.
There, Ambassador Deng Sijun accused the United States of creating “thuggery rules” and leading the region on a “bad path”, claiming to maintain international order, according to The Paper, the Chinese state media.
A similar tone was repeated last weekend in China’s People’s Liberation Army newspaper, which republished it on the website of the Communist Party’s magazine, Qiushi, targeting the Indo – China strategy. “The United States is a major factor in the continuing sharpening and escalation of the Ukraine crisis.”
This is not the first time in recent years that China has sought to establish a parallel between the US Indo-Pacific strategy and NATO, and concerns go to the heart of a key position that has brought Russia and China closer together: distrust of each other. . United States.
This is a Joint statement of 5,000 words It was released weeks before the invasion of Ukraine, in which both expressed their opposition to “NATO’s expansion” and promised to “keep a very close eye on the negative impact of US strategy on the Indo-Pacific region”.
But experts point out that there are major differences between the security alliance NATO and US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, which is not limited to security but encompasses a number of policies. The United States is located in the Indo-Pacific region, including Guam, with its long borders in the Pacific Ocean and the island state of Hawaii.
Other countries have stepped up their operations in the region in an effort to counter China’s influence. Last year, the U.K. Sent the greatest concentration of marine energy And aircraft to conduct joint exercises in the Philippine Sea, at the same time Germany sent a warship Across the South China Sea for the first time in nearly two decades. France announced a plan last year to increase its maritime cooperation with the South Pacific region. China often opposes such actions and condemns them as an attempt to curb it.
Meanwhile, the Chinese position ignores the fact that US security alliances have evolved in response to China’s own rapid military modernization, according to Drew Thompson, a senior colleague at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in New York. Singapore.
Thomson said the United States was “attracted to deeper and stronger security alliances” due to “(China’s military) modernization” and Beijing’s “lack of transparency and transparency”.
But he added that Chinese leaders’ relations with the United States “do not see the connection between other countries in the region defending China’s military modernization.”
In the midst of the Ukraine crisis, another very intimate issue may explain why China is prepared to bring its concern to the United States into the Asia-Pacific region: Taiwan.
It was recommended in 110-minute video conference between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi JinpingOn Friday, Ji’s concerns over Taiwan were a focal point for the Chinese side.
“Some in the United States have sent the wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan Independent’ forces. This is a very dangerous manipulation of the question.” Taiwan This will have a devastating effect on bilateral relations, “said Pitani, a Member of the Knesset for Kadima.
There are analysts Comparisons between dictatorial threats against Ukraine and Taiwan, An autonomous island democracy that claims Beijing as its own and does not refuse to take it by force. Earlier this month, a panel of former U.S. defense and defense officials said Butter in Taipei As a sign of US support in the midst of the European crisis.
Li of the RSIS said this was linked to China’s broader concerns in the Indo-Pacific region.
“In the event of a conflict over the Taiwan issue, the worst situation (for China) would be for China to fight only against the United States, (but) some of America’s allies would have to take part against the Chinese,” he said.